Release date:July 1, 2016
Studio:Warner Bros. Pictures
MPAA Rating:PG-13 (for sequences of action and violence, some sensuality and brief rude dialogue)
Screenwriters:Stephen Sommers, Stuart Beattie
Starring:Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Djimon Hounsou
There’s much to be said for the fast-paced action of this movie, Practical environment is not one of them. There’s a lot of this movie that is done digitally, which for me, proved to be a bit of a distraction even though it was well done.
This film starts out with a prologue that sets up the history of the story. It explains how the world, at a conference in Berlin, made the decision to carve up Africa for her resources, which sets up the motivation for our main antagonist, Leon Rom.
King Leon, of Denmark, lays claim to the Congo hoping that the diamonds and assorted other minerals located there will deliver his country out of the hands of bankruptcy.
Leon Rom (played amazingly well by Christophe Waltz), along with a small contingency of military personel are shown to arrive at the gateway of the chief (who is the possessor of said diamonds) so as to speak with him. The soldiers are, however, met with an attack. This attack, however, is thwarted as the villagers are met with a barrage of automatic gunfire. Afterward, and with a false sense of security, the end up at the meeting place of the king, played by Djimon Hounsou and it is here that the favor is returned upon them, with the exception of Leon who holds his own in a brutal yet elegant style. A deal with the chief is struck and the hunt begins.
Leon shows himself early on to be a force to be reckoned with. He is diplomatic, clever, as well as fierce, cunning, and calculated. In addition to that, he is not easily flustered as is shown several times during the film.
Leon is centrally focused on his goal, that is to deliver the diamonds to Denmark and be welcomed as a hero.
When it comes Tarzan, however, we are given little snippets of his history in the jungle, peeks behind the curtain, if you will. We are also shown how he has assimilated into British Society. In fact it is at a meeting with the politicians where he learns that he is needed to return to his native Africa which does not go over well. It is at this meeting where we are introduced to George Washington Williams, a character brought to life masterfully by Samuel L. Jackson. This it’s a character who is both formidable and hilarious. He is a crack shot, but very uncomfortable in the wilds of Africa, which makes for some very funny moments. It is Mr. Williams who actually convinces Lord Clayton/Tarzan to embark on this endeavor.
Now, of course, this wouldn’t be a Tarzan movie without the obligatory vignette about his parents and their demise. This, however, was a bit more gritty than previous showings. We are not only witnesses to the mother’s Demise by way of illness, but also to the father’s brutal murder at the hands of the Gorillas.
Tarzan is shown to be adopted by one of the female gorillas much to the Chagrin of the head silverback. Tarzan is accepted by some but definitely not by all. His assimilation into the gorilla society brings up an interesting element of the film which I have not seen in previous renditions; the fact that Tarzan would indeed be naked, filthy, and his hair completely dreaded. I really appreciated this attention to detail.
While we’re on the subject of detail, I will have to say that while the graphics were pretty good, I found that they were so prevalent that, for me, they proved to be a bit of a distraction. I would liked to have a little more use of practical effects, although I understand the limitations with such a thing as that.
Throughout the film we see Tarzan’s struggle with the man he once was and a man he is now. We are also included into the dynamic of how these events affect his wife, Jane (played exquisitely by Margot Robbie). We are given audience to this very private element of their relationship. There it’s strength, submission, compromise, passion, as atl a tenderness. We get to see that they are both strong as individuals and for each other. We are privy to how they better each other, how they have become a unit.
Another element about this that I did like was that Jane was not the typical “damsel in so-called distress”. She is one tough cookie! She is resilient, brave, strong, cunning, and resourceful (attributes I very much appreciated). I think I especially appreciated this because it made absolute sense. She grew up exploring with her father and lived with Tarzan in the wild.
Now there is plenty of high flying action (gunfights, swinging through the trees, hand to hand and [as we’ve seen in the previews]) stampedes).
Now, of course, things work out for cars and in the end but not without some definite struggles. There’s even a nice little twist at the end of the film. Overall I would say that this was a pretty good movie with enough action for the fellas and enough romance and Girl Power for the ladies.